(Topic ID: 347166)

HAM Radio?

By DanMarino

7 months ago


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  • 42 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by GPS
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 7 months ago

I think this is some HAM radio my dad built when I was a kid. I saved it when we sold his house. He’s 86 with Alzheimer’s now, so I can’t ask him about it. He must have thought it was cool if he moved it to NC and then back to MD. I’m going to try and see if I can figure out if it works. Any advice?

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#2 7 months ago

Word of caution: don't attempt to transmit--you would need a license for that, and the operator community and FCC really frowns on unlicensed transmissions.

#3 7 months ago

Well it's a 2 meter rig so it's for short distance communication, usually using a repeater. As stated previously you would need a Technician grade FCC license to transmit but you can listen without one. You would need a small 2 meter antenna as you already have the power supply.

If you're interested in what's required for licensing you can reference the ARRL website here: http://www.arrl.org/getting-your-technician-license.

73

Randy

#4 7 months ago
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#5 7 months ago

When WW3 happens, will this come in handy?

#6 7 months ago
Quoted from rplante:Well it's a 2 meter rig so it's for short distance communication, usually using a repeater. As stated previously you would need a Technician grade FCC license to transmit but you can listen without one. You would need a small 2 meter antenna as you already have the power supply.
If you're interested in what's required for licensing you can reference the ARRL website here: http://www.arrl.org/getting-your-technician-license.
73
Randy

Throw a amp on that puppy and you can go far.

#7 7 months ago

So how does the thing even work? Once someone gets a license, what can you actually do with it?

#8 7 months ago
Quoted from DanMarino:

So how does the thing even work? Once someone gets a license, what can you actually do with it?

HAM radio is its own little world- I knew people into this back in the day and more recently and the older generation people wanted to chit-chat with randoms around the world. The newer guy who was into this basically used portable HAM's as you would a cell-phone, just constantly yapping to people he knew from all around town, who were also HAM radio wonks.

#9 7 months ago

As an aside- I once had a short-wave radio that could pick up tons of transmissions from around the world, and I often times was able to pick up HAM's talking and you can listen in, most of the conversation was just casual chit-chat except one person was in Maryland and the other was on a boat in the gulf of leyte.

#10 7 months ago

My neighbor across the street was all in on HAM and had a huge antenna system on top of his house. But that was years ago. I didn't know unlicensed transmitting was now illegal or frowned upon. Or if it was ever legal.

#11 7 months ago
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#12 7 months ago
Quoted from o-din:

My neighbor across the street was all in on HAM and had a huge antenna system on top of his house. But that was years ago. I didn't know unlicensed transmitting was now illegal or frowned upon. Or if it was ever legal.

If they had an antenna it's fairly safe to say they had an operators license at some point. Not sure if you had to have a license to buy but it's not something that would go un-noticed, and in the world of HAM having a license is not seen as a big deal or needless government interference, if you have a station you also do not want unlicensed folks on your airwaves.

#13 7 months ago

The HAM elites! Haha

#14 7 months ago
Quoted from DanMarino:

So how does the thing even work? Once someone gets a license, what can you actually do with it?

SSB, FM winlink, satellite, moon bounce, ft8, rtty, psk31, that's pre ctss era so you need an addon to get into the repeaters.

There's room for everyone.

#15 7 months ago
Quoted from Whistles:

If they had an antenna it's fairly safe to say they had an operators license at some point. Not sure if you had to have a license to buy but it's not something that would go un-noticed, and in the world of HAM having a license is not seen as a big deal or needless government interference, if you have a station you also do not want unlicensed folks on your airwaves.

You don't need a license to buy but as long he doesn't push the push to talk button he's fine.

#16 7 months ago

I went and got a general class license because I remember my gramps doing ham radio stuff. Most of the ham radio groups I've visited are old guys that just enjoy using their ham radios to do public service safety for events like marathons and bicycle races and such. I can confirm that the local MCECG group is ready to use their ham radio skills to support incident response in case of natural disaster where communications go down.

#17 7 months ago

There is usually an amateur radio club in most every place in the USA, so you should probably seek them out and attend a meeting.

#18 7 months ago

I’m still trying to understand what I can do with the thing and figure out if it even works. I’ll Google the ham radio club thing and see what comes up.

#19 7 months ago

Plug it in, stick the antenna up and scan thru the channels. You might hear something. Ham radio isnt super user friendly and takes some reading and research to begin but it's not difficult.

Got repeaterbook.com and find a local repeater to dial into.

#20 7 months ago
Quoted from DanMarino:

I’m still trying to understand what I can do with the thing and figure out if it even works. I’ll Google the ham radio club thing and see what comes up.

Hook the radio up to the power supply and turn it on. If it doesn't smoke your good If it does congrats you blew a capacitor.

Now you need a variable power supply put it on and crank it up. To reform the capacitors.

Once you got that going. Turn it off and start looking for a user manual and throw down on it.

Start buying crystals to get yourself listing to the two Meter band.

Get your technician license and then get on the air.

Your going to have to get an addons that will let you open the squelch on the local repeater after you get your license.

#21 7 months ago

A two meter radio operates on the 144 mhz band approx. two meters hot it’s name from the length of the antenna required for a full wave antenna as opposed to 1/2 or 5/8 wave antenna.

The two meter band is really designed to use local repeaters that will receive your signal on one frequency and then retransmit it on another adding range. Many local repeaters also had an auto patch which enabled making phone calls via the radio. No business stuff just personal communications. Most modern repeaters also require a “tone” to operate the repeater. This enables the repeaters to receive your signal and then retransmit on a slightly different frequency. So you listen on one frequency and transmit on another. Most modern radios do a lot of this in the background if you will making it very easy to use.

I actually just found out my license expired! Damn. Means I have to take the test again and get relicensed! Oh well. When I get time. I don’t use the radio hardly at all as the number of people at least in my area seem to have dwindled considerably. I recall using the radio and throwing my call out there and most times there was no response.

A technician license will grant priveledges on 30 mhz and above meaning short range communications. If you wish to talk around the world you would need a general class license. I know for technician priveledges you do not need to know Morse code and I think, this also applies to lower frequencies as well.

Hope that is helpful.

#22 7 months ago

I have my technician license that I primarily use for communications during severe weather events as a Skywarn storm spotter (I'm a thunderstorm geek and why Whirlwind is my grail pin). To be honest, I've only made a couple storm reports in the nearly 15 years I've been licensed. Talking to random strangers over the radio outside of public service duties isn't my thing. While the number of HAMs seems to be dwindling, HAM will always be there when other methods of communication go down (i.e. cell towers) in times of disaster. You never know when you might need to use it.

#23 7 months ago

HAM radio seems like an old man hobby, kinda like pinball. haha.

#24 7 months ago

I'm not sure how to hook up the antenna. I'll get it out again tonight and see if I can hear anything. I don't understand how to tune the thing. It looks like it might have 6 transmit and 6 receive frequencies. The AC Power Supply turned on, so that seems good.

#25 7 months ago
Quoted from DanMarino:

I'm not sure how to hook up the antenna. I'll get it out again tonight and see if I can hear anything. I don't understand how to tune the thing. It looks like it might have 6 transmit and 6 receive frequencies. The AC Power Supply turned on, so that seems good.

Get a $35 baofeng digital handheld off Amazon and play with it and see if you like it. It'll be easier to get started and has all the modern features for cheap.

#26 7 months ago

I found the local Amateur Radio Association and for $10 I'm going to try and become a member. Looks like they meet monthly and gather every 2 weeks for breakfast. I'll show up and bring my Heathkit. The appeal for me is to use the Heathkit HAM radio that my father built in the 1970's. I remember him building it. I don't really remember him using it, so I guess he never got a license.

#27 7 months ago

Off the top of my head I can’t remember the frequency but there’s a few that NOAA etc are always broadcasting on so you should be able to tune into that and receive to test your equipment

Most frequencies you’ll want your antenna to clear the roof of your house if you live in the suburbs. I live in a dense area and can get the NOAA channel with the antenna inside my house.

Me and some of my friends tried to get into the hobby. Met a couple people who were welcoming. The more diehard folks are very unwelcoming to noobs. I posted a funny and lengthy post about this on another HAM thread on pinside.

If you listen to some of your local simplex bands you’ll find out you aren’t missing out on anything. Mostly talk about what’s local to where they live like looking at reviews on google or yelp. Basically it would be like you and I talking on the phone for a couple hours and we need to remind each other what our phone numbers are because it’s the law.

There’s a thing called Field Day. Think of it like Pinball Expo for Ham except you don’t meet anywhere. Some people have parties at their house and bring their own radios like it’s a LAN party. The goal is to talk to as many people as you can remotely.

Fun fact you CAN legally transmit without any license in a crisis (that part not so fun).

For $250 or a little more you can get a much more up to date system than the one you have if you truly decide to get into the hobby if you want some more of the digital features. A lot of the repeater offsets (I think I have that right) are preprogrammed for you.

#28 7 months ago

Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the feedback. The nostalgia is to use the radio I remember my dad building. I checked out the local Amateur Radio Association website and it looks like old pinball guys or old engineers. We will see if they are friendly. Their website says they are friendly. haha. Looks like free classes are offered in the area to get the license. Like you guys have kinda hinted around, I'm probably not missing anything if I end up not enjoying it. It might be neat to communicate with people remotely over the thing. I don't see myself spending a bunch of money to get into HAM radio. So if this Heathkit is junk or boring, I'll probably try to sell it.

#29 7 months ago
Quoted from EJS:

Off the top of my head I can’t remember the frequency but there’s a few that NOAA etc are always broadcasting on so you should be able to tune into that and receive to test your equipment

Here are the seven frequencies that NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts on:

162.400
162.425
162.450
162.475
162.500
162.525
162.550

The immediate Twin Cities metro NOAA station is 162.550, KEC65.

#30 7 months ago
Quoted from Ryguy80:

I have my technician license that I primarily use for communications during severe weather events as a Skywarn storm spotter (I'm a thunderstorm geek and why Whirlwind is my grail pin). To be honest, I've only made a couple storm reports in the nearly 15 years I've been licensed. Talking to random strangers over the radio outside of public service duties isn't my thing. While the number of HAMs seems to be dwindling, HAM will always be there when other methods of communication go down (i.e. cell towers) in times of disaster. You never know when you might need to use it.

Get your general and have some fun.

#31 7 months ago
Quoted from Ryguy80:

I have my technician license.

Quoted from Bmad21:

Get your general and have some fun.

Will you B mad if Ryguy doesn't get his general license?

#32 7 months ago

I am now a member of the Columbia Amateur Radio Association. I'll let you know if the people help me get up and running.

2 weeks later
#33 7 months ago

Hey Hams

Quick question please; I need to connect a single antenna (VHF) to two antenna inputs. One of those inputs also transmits while the other input only receives.

Seems like I need a duplexer that is diode protected so that when the transceiver transmits that signal does not go into the receive only input.

Thank you for considering

G

#34 7 months ago

A duplexer only works if your TX and RX are on separate fixed frequencies. You might need a relay or PIN diode controlled by TX PTT to disconnect antenna from RX input. while transmitting.

#35 7 months ago
Quoted from Tuukka:

A duplexer only works if your TX and RX are on separate fixed frequencies. You might need a relay or PIN diode controlled by TX PTT to disconnect antenna from RX input. while transmitting.

Ty. Agreed

#36 7 months ago
Quoted from GPS:

Hey Hams
Quick question please; I need to connect a single antenna (VHF) to two antenna inputs. One of those inputs also transmits while the other input only receives.
Seems like I need a duplexer that is diode protected so that when the transceiver transmits that signal does not go into the receive only input.
Thank you for considering
G

Ideally, you'd use a 'circulator': https://www.rfwireless-world.com/Terminology/How-RF-Circulator-Works.html

Depending on the levels and some other details, it might be a good idea (really mandatory) to have a 'limiter' in the receiver path too. The circulator will have some loss - some are low, some not so great. And if you're talking high Tx powers, then that can complicate things a bit.

As other mentioned, you could make a switch using PIN diodes or a diplexer if there's a separation of frequencies. A PIN switch will require drive circuitry and given the switching times, probably a good idea to look at timing too.

I've designed a ton of high power PIN switches over the years (ultra wideband with many RF paths) and limiters in the KW range. And some of the designs incorporated circulators. Holler if you want some assistance, glad to help (my semi-retired day job is designing transmitters).

#37 7 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Ideally, you'd use a 'circulator': https://www.rfwireless-world.com/Terminology/How-RF-Circulator-Works.html
Depending on the levels and some other details, it might be a good idea (really mandatory) to have a 'limiter' in the receiver path too. The circulator will have some loss - some are low, some not so great. And if you're talking high Tx powers, then that can complicate things a bit.
As other mentioned, you could make a switch using PIN diodes or a diplexer if there's a separation of frequencies. A PIN switch will require drive circuitry and given the switching times, probably a good idea to look at timing too.
I've designed a ton of high power PIN switches over the years (ultra wideband with many RF paths) and limiters in the KW range. And some of the designs incorporated circulators. Holler if you want some assistance, glad to help (my semi-retired day job is designing transmitters).

Thank you Sir. Was able to find an inexpensive splitter specifically designed for this application for about $80. Kind of pissed as I forgot this was needed and did not include it in my proposal. Live and learn!!

#38 7 months ago

We’re talking relatively low power levels. 25 watt max on 146 MHz. Thank you again!

#39 7 months ago
Quoted from GPS:

Thank you Sir. Was able to find an inexpensive splitter specifically designed for this application for about $80. Kind of pissed as I forgot this was needed and did not include it in my proposal. Live and learn!!

Splitter? Did you mean circulator (big difference!)?

Regarding the limiter and why you should have one: Guess what happens if the antenna breaks or you have a high VSWR? All the Tx signal headed out to the antenna is reflected back and the circulator directs it right back to the Rx path (yikes). So the limiter is meant to clamp it to a level that your receiver won't be damaged. You can have a 'reflective' or 'absorptive' limiter. Absorptive terminates it into 50 ohms, reflective is usually a short (i.e. it's reflective back again).

Also, take a look at the isolation between the circulator ports. A circulator isn't perfect and some Tx signal will sneak out the Rx port even if the antenna is a perfect 50 ohms. Usually not much, but just make sure the leakage level won't damage the Rx front-end.

#40 7 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Splitter? Did you mean circulator (big difference!)?
Regarding the limiter and why you should have one: Guess what happens if the antenna breaks or you have a high VSWR? All the Tx signal headed out to the antenna is reflected back and the circulator directs it right back to the Rx path (yikes). So the limiter is meant to clamp it to a level that your receiver won't be damaged. You can have a 'reflective' or 'absorptive' limiter. Absorptive terminates it into 50 ohms, reflective is usually a short (i.e. it's reflective back again).
Also, take a look at the isolation between the circulator ports. A circulator isn't perfect and some signal will sneak out the Rx port even if the antenna is a perfect 50 ohms. Usually not much, but just make sure the leakage level won't damage the Rx front-end.

He needs a antenna tunner.

#41 7 months ago
Quoted from Bmad21:

He needs a antenna tunner.

That won't help, that just alters the match between the amplifier and antenna.

2 weeks later
#42 6 months ago

Hi Fellas

If anyone is looking for a 2m/440 handy talkie, I am selling mine. I forgot to renew my license within the two year grace and as such I no longer am licensed. Don’t plan to get back in. Been there done that.

It is in the original box. No smoking house. No scratches or dents. Hardly used. It is a Yaesu FT-60. Has the MH-34 speaker mic and a Diamond RH77CA antenna.

I am pairing down. Got to start getting rid of stuff I don’t use or don’t plan to use. Getting to that point. Make me an offer.

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